Castle Pines North Metropolitan District is seeking help in finding those responsible for arson and vandalism in Coyote Ridge Park and other areas of the community that’s caused an estimated $2,500 in damage.
“If we catch them, we will press charges,” said District Manager Jim Nikkel. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Department is now involved with the case. Sgt. Lori Bronner said “$2,500 is a felony. That’s a serious offense.” If caught, the criminals would face charges that include second-degree arson, which is a Class four felony, and criminal mischief. Reports of vandalism in Castle Pines North began in February when spray paint and stencil graffiti appeared in local parks. Since then, incidents are happening more frequently. In early March, a picnic table at Coyote Ridge Park was set on fire, leaving a pile of its melted rubber coating on the ground. Despite the District’s efforts to repaint, stencil graffiti continuously reappears on the park’s gazebo. And most recently, staff discovered someone attempted to set fire to a park restroom. At the skate park, vandals tried to destroy the grates under the skate ramps and break the struts. Portions of the split rail fence nearby were taken apart and broken into pieces. And two months ago, vandalism inside a park restroom necessitated a full-scale chemical cleaning using protective suits. “It’s a problem that doesn’t seem to go away,” said Craig Miller, Parks and Open Space manager. Miller estimates work to clean graffiti, grind down concrete, and paint over the vandalism would cost the District $12,000 to $15,000 in staff time.
Since young people typically use the skate park, Bronner said it’s natural to suspect minors may be to blame for the vandalism. “It’s always a fine line; giving them freedom and building trust. But parents should be aware of where their kids are and what they are doing,” she said.
The District is now planning to remove the skate park feature from Coyote Ridge Park altogether. “We’ll just dismantle it,” Board President Keith Dodd said. “It is such a shame that a few misguided individuals will be responsible for the removal of the skate park which so many enjoy. This is your home and your community; why destroy it?” Nikkel and the CPNMD board of directors are asking residents to report suspicious activity to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office." Even if you see the graffiti tags, report it,” said Nikkel. The City of Castle Pines is also encouraging more reports to law enforcement in the hopes the vandalism will stop. You can contact the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 303-660-7500.